Clemson has battled large spreads all season long, and they eventually took their toll as the Tigers covered in just two of their last six games. Favored Clemson, still shooting for a spot in the College Football Playoff, faces a double-digit spread for Saturday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference championship battle with the Virginia Tech Hokies on a neutral field in Orlando, Florida.
Point spread: The Tigers opened as 8.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 41.6-32.3 Tigers (College football picks on every game)
Why the Clemson Tigers can cover the spread
After getting upset by Pittsburgh three weeks ago, the Tigers won twice convincingly, beating Wake Forest 35-13 and South Carolina 56-7 en route to claiming the ACC Coastal Division title for the second year in a row.
Clemson jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead on the Gamecocks last week, led 35-0 at the half and 42-0 before allowing South Carolina to hit the board on its way to an easy cover as a four-touchdown favorite. The Tigers outgained the Gamecocks 622-218, outrushed them 240-111 and held a 34-26 time of possession advantage. Among all that, quarterback Deshaun Watson tossed six touchdown passes.
Two weeks ago, as a 24-point favorite, Clemson grabbed a 28-0 lead on the Demon Deacons before easing off and missing the cover by a field goal.
The Tigers, of course, aren’t just playing for a conference championship; with a victory Saturday they’ll likely punch a return ticket to the CFP. But nothing is certain yet, and style points might still count for Clemson.
Why the Virginia Tech Hokies can cover the spread
Virginia Tech also bounced back from an upset to win its final two games of the regular season, nipping Notre Dame in South Bend 34-31, then walloping Virginia last week 52-10. The Hokies took a 7-0 lead on the Cavaliers after one quarter, then scored three times in the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead into halftime. Virginia Tech pressed that to 38-0 before allowing Virginia to score on its way to an easy cover as 20-point chalk.
The Hokies outgained the Cavs 579-247 and won the ground battle by a 289-108 margin.
Virginia Tech is back in the ACC Championship Game for the first time since 2011.
Two weeks ago, the Hokies trailed the Irish 17-0 out of the gate and 31-21 through three quarters, then scored the final 13 points of the game to steal the victory.
These teams played four common opponents this season; Clemson went 3-1 both SU and ATS against those four foes, while Virginia Tech went 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS. The Tigers are more explosive on offense, own the edge on defense and have all the motivation in the world to win this game convincingly. The smart betting call here at sports betting sites is Clemson.
Clemson is 3-0 SU and ATS in its last three games against Virginia Tech.
The total has gone under in six of Clemson’s last seven games against Virginia Tech.
The total has gone over in Clemson’s last four games against teams with winning records.
All college football betting lines and point spreads data courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and Odds Shark YouTube for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.